Gaming machines licence

A gaming machine licence is required in respect of premises providing amusements with prizes by way of machines.

The most common applications of gaming machines are those commonly referred to as 'fruit machines' and 'one-armed bandits' which make small payments. Typically these machines would be found in amusement arcades, motorway service stations, take-aways and cafes, as well as pubs and clubs.

Where premises have a liquor licence, the gaming machine permit is obtained from the licensing justices' (i.e. the local magistrates' court). In all other premises, application is made to the Council.

The maximum charge permissible for a game is 30p. Where the machine in question pays out a combination of cash, gifts and/or tokens, the maximum payout permissible is £5.00 in cash or £8.00 in cash and/or tokens. There are no age restrictions in force for such machines, so children can also play them. Where the machine in question pays out cash only, the maximum payout permissible is £15.00. There is an age restriction in force for such machines, limiting access to persons aged 18 years and over only (i.e. they must be in an area of the premises which underage users cannot gain access to).

A licence is not required where the machine in question is based only on a game of skill (e.g. quiz machines), or is an amusement only machine and in either case no money or token is paid out by the machine.

Applications for a permit

The Council will be able to give preliminary advice about the types of premises where they will allow gaming machines and will, if required, send out the appropriate advisory literature and an application form to you. Each licence is granted for a period of three years.

If your premises have a Justices on-licence granted under the Licensing Act 1964 and you wish to have gaming machines on your premises, then you must apply to the local Magistrates Court for a Permit. In all other instances, you should apply to the Council. A Gaming Machines Licence is required for any machine which:

  • has been constructed/adapted for playing a game of chance by means of the machine, and
  • has a slot or other aperture for accepting money or money's worth in the form of cash or tokens.

There are basically two types of permit:

  • s34(1) Gaming Act 1968 - for money prizes/tokens not exceeding £8
  • s34(5E) Gaming Act 1968 - for money prizes/tokens exceeding £8 (These permits have additional conditions attached pertaining to restrictions on persons under 18 years of age).


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